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Reflections for Standard 1

1.A.3 Rigorous Standard-Based Unit Design.

When I first started teaching, I depended on textbooks to guide me through a unit and sequence
the information presented to my students. As I became more comfortable with the material and
more aware of the standards, I was able to develop units that incorporated additional resources
and materials, without covering everything in the book. Also, through my time at Marblehead
Community Charter Public School (MCCPS) we spent a lot of professional development
meetings discussing depth of knowledge and developing multidisciplinary projects that met and
went beyond the standards requiring higher order thinking. This allowed for a great level of
creativity in our assessments and projects. I have applied this to the curriculum embedded
performance assessments and tasks as I focused on Understanding by Design Professional
development this year at Swampscott Middle School. Overall I feel I have been able to develop
lessons, projects, and assessments that are rigorous and challenging for students while based
on the grade level standards. Moving forward I will continue to reflect on how lessons, units,
and projects go and plan for how to make them more rigorous, engaging, by requiring greater
depth of knowledge and higher order thinking, as I know from experience the positive impact
this has on student learning.

1.A.4 Well Structured Lessons.

I started teaching without any K-12 experience. This meant that I didnt put daily objectives on
the board and I would simply utilize the reading guides that came with the textbook materials.
While I did engage students with hands on activities and projects, my class had a rhythm and
got repetitive my first year teaching. After attending conferences and observing other teachers
in their classrooms, I was able to start developing lessons that helped students meet clear
objectives. At the beginning of each chapter (and later each lesson) I would share the
objectives with students. I also gained a better grasp of the pacing of a class and the amount of
time different activities, projects, and assessments would take which aided in better planning on
my part. Overall, I am now in a much better place to plan a lesson and think ahead to plan for
what specific students may need to support or accelerate them as they work. I also am more
thoughtful with grouping of students for different projects and classwork. I know I will continue
to grow in these areas to create well structured lessons that engage students. I am someone
who wants to continually improve my lessons.

1.B.1 Variety of Assessment Methods

When I first started teaching I was set on teach a section, give a quiz, teach a chapter give a
test, and incorporate a project along the way (or in between chapters). I incorporated
engineering projects from the beginning, but they didnt always have a clear connection to the
curriculum. Over time, I realized that I didnt need a test for every chapter or unit to assess
student knowledge. I developed projects that had greater depth of knowledge and truly assess
their abilities. I also became better at integrating interdisciplinary projects into the curriculum in
a meaningful way. Currently, I take advantage of many different assessment methods to
monitor and help my students grow. I incorporate writing, mini quiz check ins,
homework/classwork assignments, engineering challenges, scientific inquiry, and tests. I feel
this variety of assessments builds a wider range of skills in students. I will continue to be
creative in my assessment methods and learn from other teachers in order to keep my class
interesting and engaging and develop methods to assess each student's abilities and

1.B.2 Adjustments to Practice

When I first started teaching, I received advice to give pre assessments to my students. Which I
did and they would take a whole class period and I wouldnt know what to do with the data.
Ultimately I stopped giving them, finding them a waste of valuable class time. After attending a
few conferences and hearing about other short and quick formative assessment methods and
learning about google forms, I had a solution! I started giving short 10 question electronic
pre/post assessments. These are done quickly at the beginning of class or end of class and I
have all my results instantaneously and in one spreadsheet. I love spreadsheets, which made it
easy for me to quickly program the spreadsheet to color code their correct answers. Then I
could subsequently sort according to the number correct and identify who was at grade level,
which students would need a challenge, and which students may require added support. I have
developed skills for how to meet their needs, especially as a math teacher during my first 5
years teaching. I started using a flipped classroom where students would watch a video lesson
the night before. This allowed me to assign students different lessons to meet their needs and
give them different levels and types of practice in class the next day. I also found it beneficial to
regive the same test at the end of a unit to measure their growth. I am currently applying these
to my science units to assess prior knowledge before beginning a unit. Moving forward I will
continue to use these methods to assess student growth. I am very excited to discover that
recently, google forms made it even easier to track and grade pre/post assessments which will
aid in the effectiveness of these assessments.

1.C.3 Sharing Conclusions with Students

From the beginning of my teaching career, I have always prided myself on getting assignments
graded and returned to students quickly to give them feedback on their work while it is fresh in
their mind. While I have continued to adapt to get work back quickly, even within the increase in
the number of students, I have also become better at giving constructive feedback. I have
developed methods for meeting with teams of students during projects to give each group some
feedback orally and in writing for how to improve. I have also worked with students to develop
their abilities to give constructive and feedback to peers in a kind and helpful manner. At
MCCPS I posted grades weekly as soon as I finished grading assignment, which was readily
available electronically for parents to monitor their childs grades. I love this as a form of
communication as parents can see if assignments are missing, late, as well as their grades.
This year at Swampscott, it hasnt been as easy to communicate with parents as the Union
doesnt want us posting more than twice a term. I still enter grades weekly into the computer
and meet with students for quick conferences every few weeks (especially after major
assessments) to go over their grade and give them feedback on where they could improve and
where to maintain. Most recently I discovered I can print mini grade update sheets for my
students, which I can then have parents sign to ensure communication with parents and
students. Moving forward I will continue to use this method of student check ins to
communicate with students where they can improve and where they should maintain. I will also
periodically print grade sheets for students to have in between progress reports. As I develop
better rubrics, this will allow students make sense of their grades on projects and identify where
to improve.